I listen to a daily podcast from former radio show hosts Humble & Fred. The pair, in addition to discussing the latest news of the day and dissecting their lives, often have standup comedians in to promote their latest shows and talk a little shop. I’m always fascinated when a comedian drops by because, quite often, discussion turns to writing and the mechanics of standup. I love that kind of insight. What makes a person want to get up in front of a room of strangers and attempt to make them laugh?
That’s all covered in Viceland’s latest original series, Funny How? Debuting Monday and broadcast all week long at 11:30 p.m. ET on the channel, Funny How? trails Canadian Kliph Nesteroff, former comic and author of The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy, as he discusses all things standup with the folks who do it every day.
The debut instalment, “The Art of the Bomb,” delves into exactly that … bombing on stage. Nesteroff shares his own experiences, rattling off numerous Toronto clubs where he crapped out, and chatting with folks like Dave Attell, Mike Birbiglia, Artie Lange and Chris Robinson, who recall their first time bombing with an audience. But what makes this episode, and Funny How? in general, so interesting is its analysis of standup comedy. What, exactly, does it mean to bomb on stage? Is it merely that your jokes don’t work, or does the audience play a part in it too? And how does failing on stage help in one’s evolution as a standup comic? As Attell says, failing on-stage doesn’t just happen in the beginning of your career; it can derail a veteran too.
Upcoming episodes cover breaking in, comedy classes, and niche comedy from the LGBTQ community to Christian comics. If you’re a visitor to comedy clubs, a fan of standup comedy or just marvel in the fact folks have the guts to do it as a hobby or career, give Funny How? a peek.
Funny How? airs Monday, July 10, to Friday, July 14, at 11:30 p.m. ET on Viceland.
Image courtesy of Rogers.